Convert More with These Video Ad Best Practices + Examples

Balint Gergely

February 19, 2024

Since the early 2010s, social media companies have been in a constant battle for our attention. 

With each new platform and iteration, they captured a bigger slice of our time and attention. From bite-sized text to long-form videos, each platform had its unique flavor. The diversity of platforms had created a mosaic of online experiences, capturing every conceivable niche one by one. 

Until TikTok changed everything. 

In 2020, the platform took the internet by storm. TikTok found a way to capture audience attention in ways never seen before. Combining the infamous "infinite scroll" with behavior-based recommendations, TikTok invented the most rewarding media format to date. 

It was game over. 

Fast forward to 2024, and short-format vertical videos are the main attraction on all notable social media platforms. 

In this article, we’ll cover how to create video ads that cut through the noise on social media.

Why do you need a video marketing strategy?

TikTok’s emergence had serious implications for advertisers. This shift in audience behavior gave rise to a new wave of in-feed video ads. 

How effective are these video ads? 

Our study with TikTok revealed that the platform’s users focus on the screen for 75% of the ad's duration on average, compared to just 45% for other platforms.

That’s an increase of 66% in audience attention. 

With this shift in audience behavior, businesses quickly realized that they needed to adapt to the new playing field. This made video ads a priority for most brands. 

Discover the neuroscience behind successful video ads, and win the battle for attention with your next campaign.

The anatomy of successful ads

In collaboration with Stanford University, we embarked on a groundbreaking neuromarketing study to demystify the subconscious secrets behind successful video ads. We discovered that all successful ads share 4 unifying principles. 

These are the 4 Powers of Effective Advertising (4 Power Model).

The 4 Power Model

What does it mean?

It means that your video ad can only be successful when it:

  1. Captures audience attention
  2. Creates emotional associations
  3. Engages the audience cognitively
  4. Leaves a clear memory trace

Watch our CEO, Dr. Thomas Z. Ramsøy explain the 4 Power Model:

Now that we have these guidelines, let’s dive in and see how to optimize your video ads.

1. Maximize the impact of the first second of your video ads

Our study with the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) revealed that we make subconscious decisions about ads within the first second of playtime. 

We know that most of our decisions are motivated by emotions. On top of that:

It only takes 300 milliseconds for our brains to produce an emotional response.

That’s not a lot of room to play with. 

The first seconds of your video ads are, therefore, more important than you think.

Positive emotions don’t only contribute to the overall likability of your ads. They are directly linked to the audience’s willingness to try your products.

2. Where attention leads, the mind follows

As previously mentioned, attention is the gatekeeper to advertising success. 

Understanding what draws attention in your video ads is like a superpower. It helps you selectively create ads that boost different emotional associations. These may include likability, familiarity, and relevance.

For example:

When advertising to top-funnel audiences, highlighting product features can boost: 

Willingness to buy.

In contrast, increased attention to brand elements in bottom-funnel ads made audiences perceive brands as more:

and Credible.

These are just a few examples we found when investigating how attention impacts an audience’s emotional responses. 

But how can you tell where attention goes in your video ads?

3. Use attention analysis tools to boost video conversions

Analyzing attention is not only beneficial for maximizing your video ad effectiveness. It also has the potential to save you considerable time and money in the process. 

Tools like Predict are designed to mimic how audiences interact with your ads. They help you visualize audience attention through the use of attention heatmaps.

One of the prime examples of this is Tre Kronor Media. The company not only streamlined internal processes with Predict but also increased client ad CTRs by an average of 32%.

Learn more about
how Tre Kronor Media increased ad CTRs with Predict

4. Avoid conceptual closure in your video ads

Beyond attention, however, other subconscious factors may influence your video ad’s effectiveness. 

One commonly overlooked factor is conceptual closure.

Conceptual closure is the existence of event boundaries. Scene shifts in a visual narrative. For example, if you're watching a video and the scene changes abruptly, you probably experience conceptual closure.

We now know that conceptual closure has a significant impact on the success of ads as outlined by this research paper. The paper highlights, that when important information is presented during an episode of conceptual closure, audiences are less likely to remember it.

Read more about conceptual closure in video ads in this article by our CEO, Dr. Thomas Z. Ramsøy.

5. Weave your brand & products into the video’s narrative

Find ways to incorporate your brand colors, logo, and product into the narrative of your video ads. This helps you create subconscious associations in your audience’s mind. Place your brand where attention is naturally drawn, and make your products an integral part of the ad's storyline. 

Your brand shouldn’t be a guest star. It should be the hero.

Old Spice’s famous “I’m on a horse” commercial is a great example of this.

Attention heatmaps generated by

This Old Spice ad sustains attention to the brand and product throughout its entire duration. It does so while maintaining an entertaining story, creating a positive emotional connection with the brand.

6. Leave a clear memory trace

Failing to leave a lasting impression with your ad can diminish all of your prior efforts. 

The most common mistakes include: 

1. The ad is memorable, but the brand isn’t: Ads fail to anchor the brand in the story, leaving viewers recalling content but not the product or the brand.

2. Misaligned ad associations: The mistake of adding ad elements that confuse the audience. These may create negative associations with the brand.

3. Overly generic content: Without a unique angle, viewers will see your video ads but won’t remember them.

Memory is one of the most important pillars of the 4 Power Model because it’s the one that will have your audience wanting to come back for more.


Video content is the undisputed champion of social media in 2024. 

Remember, to make your video ads successful, your ads need to accomplish each step in the 4 Power Model:

  1. Capture attention
  2. Create positive emotions
  3. Keep the audience engaged
  4. Leave a memorable impression
To ensure you nail these steps, you can:

1. Use attention analysis tools to guide your audience’s gaze strategically.
2. Make the first seconds of your video ads impactful to maximize the effectiveness of the whole. Viewers make snap judgments about how ads make them feel.
3. Use attention visualization tools & draw the audience’s gaze strategically. 
4. Avoid presenting important information during an episode of conceptual closure. 
5. Integrate your brand/product seamlessly into the story of your ads.
6. Leave a memorable impression with unique content and visible brand identity.

To test whether your video ads are accomplishing these, you can check your ad’s attention distribution with Predict.

Convert More with These Video Ad Best Practices + Examples

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